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Great Moderation or Great Mistake: Can rising confidence in low macro-risk explain the boom in asset prices?

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  • Broer, Tobias
  • Kero, Afroditi

Abstract

The fall in US macroeconomic volatility from the mid-1980s coincided with a strong rise in asset prices. Recently, this rise, and the crash that followed, have been attributed to overconfidence in a benign macroeconomic environment of low volatility. This paper introduces learning about the persistence of volatility regimes in a standard asset pricing model. It shows that the fall in US macroeconomic volatility since the mid-1980s only leads to a relatively small increase in asset prices when investors have full information about the highly persistent, but not permanent, nature of low volatility regimes. When investors infer the persistence of low volatility from empirical evidence, however, Bayesian learning can deliver a strong rise in asset prices by up to 80%. Moreover, the end of the low volatility period leads to a strong and sudden crash in prices.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8700.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8700

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Keywords: Asset Prices; Great Moderation; Macroeconomic Risk;

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  1. Bonomo, M. & Garcia, R., 1991. "Consumption and Equilibrium Asset Pricing: an Empirical Assessment," Cahiers de recherche 9126, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Garcia, R. & Bonomo, M., 1993. "Disappointment Aversion as a Solution to the Equity Premium and the Risk- Free Rate Puzzles," Cahiers de recherche 9334, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
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  8. Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Informational Overshooting, Booms and Crashes," CEPR Discussion Papers 823, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  10. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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